November 2021
Hello ICO friends and journal readers!

As we near the end of 2021, we recognize that it has been almost two years since the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic. We would like to thank everyone for their resilience and diligence in continuing to volunteer their time with ICO.   Communities are still feeling the impact of the pandemic and the need for collaboration and support remains critical. 

In this issue, we are pleased to share news about a tribute to ICO Founder John Mitchell, a national award won by our Chief Operating Officer, an ICO/ Camosun College student practicum partnership, and updates on our initiatives.  We also wanted to make note of an interesting series on Netflix – for those cooler and darker winter evenings.

We wish everyone the best in 2021 and we will be in touch in 2022!


Yours in Friendship,

The ICO World Team


Table of Contents :

  • A Tribute to John Mitchell
  • Jennifer Wade Receives National Recognition 
  • ICO’s San Antonio Stoves for Health Coming to a Close 
  • ICO and Camosun College Partnership- Marketing 420 
  • Regional Updates 
  • Daughters of Destiny- A Netflix Series 
  • Truth and Reconciliation- The Canadian Experience 


A Tribute to John Mitchell



We are pleased to share news about a tribute to John’s impact and influence on ICO and our volunteers endures and his vision and friendship remain an inspiration to all. ICO Founder and Chairman Emeritus, John Mitchell.  A memorial plaque was installed on a bench, overlooking Desdemona and the marina, at Fisherman’s Wharf.   This is where John met with many ICO volunteers, sharing his vision of a community focused on friendship and one which would allow 100% of every dollar raised to go to communities in need.

Jennifer Wade Receive National Recognition 

We are delighted to announce that Charity Village has recently honoured Jennifer Wade, our COO, as one of the top five finalists in the category of Most Outstanding Impact by a  Volunteer in Canada.   The awards ceremony, held on November 3rd, brought together over 650 professionals from the charitable sector and provided an opportunity for individuals to learn and to be recognized for their mission, purpose, community and recruitment initiatives. 

Jennifer has been a volunteer with Foundation for 10 years. Her international philanthropic work began in 1998, with meeting a family and then helping a village, in a small community in Nepal. With her excellent communication and organizational skills, Jennifer took on the role of Chief Operations Officer on September 9, 2011. During her ten years of leadership, Jennifer has provided oversight to forty-six initiatives, in sixteen countries. During that period, our volunteers collectively raised $3.5 million in donations and deployed $3.2 million in resources to provide scholarships, teachers salaries, health services, permaculture infrastructure, food supplies, farming resources, educational facilities, and more recently covid relief funding. Jennifer’s countless volunteer hours and her tenacious dedication to the success of all initiatives has been a cornerstone in ICO’s success.

Congratulations Jennifer on the great achievement! 




 ICO’s San Antonio Stoves for Health Initiative is Coming to a Close 

By Susan Gage 

For hundreds of years, Mayans have cooked over unventilated open fires in their one-room homes. The results are many. Families suffer from respiratory illness, eye infection, and burns. The environment suffers from intense deforestation as well as global warming; the soot from open fires is a major contributor to climate change.

Enter ICO and the made-in-Guatemala ONIL stove – a vented, smoke-free, and energy-efficient stove using 70% less wood than open-hearth fires. From 2007 to 2017, ICO installed almost 1500 Onil stoves in the village of San Antonio Palopó and the surrounding area. In 2018, when it became evident that most of the village had shifted away from open-hearth fires to the new stoves, we switched our efforts from installing new stoves to a stove maintenance program. Every year our team of local women, Brenda and Petrona, went house-to-house to check on the functioning of the stoves, see what replacement parts were needed, and install the new parts when they arrived. Except in cases of extremely poor families, the family and ICO would split the cost of the new parts.

Now, in 2021, our team has decided to withdraw from the program. The information we are getting from the field indicates that most families are managing to maintain their stoves themselves. Some are switching to gas-burning stoves now.  Even with the reduced wood-use of the Onil stoves, firewood has become so expensive that the price of gas has become competitive.

Our ICO Guatemala team is proud to have installed and maintained all these stoves over the years, improving the health of families in the region, and reducing the heavy environmental costs in wood and CO2 emissions.



ICO and Camosun College Partnership – Marketing 420

Beginning in the Fall of 2021 Camosun College has partnered with ICO for its marketing program’s capstone course, Marketing 420. In this course, students will use their knowledge, gained from previous courses, to design and implement a marketing plan for a number of ICO’s international initiatives. We are delighted to have these ambitious and talented students lend their expertise to our organization.  Education, and sharing innovative solutions, is at the core of our mission.  Partnering with Camosun College is a wonderful opportunity for mentoring and for sharing news of the great work being done internationally.

For the current term, the class was separated into teams of five, and each team selected an initiative of interest to their group. The following Initiatives were selected in Fall 2021 term:

  • Susan Gage – San Antonio Education and Community in Guatemala
  • Brad McLoughin — Kaski Education in Nepal
  • Thanh and Mark Tazumi — Education in Vietnam
  • Heather Croft, Erin Houldsworth & Colleen Delaney — Kobian Matoto Bountouraby Sylla School in Guinea
  • Karen Schrey & Colleen Hanley — Mama Power in Tanzania

The students will have an opportunity to present their marketing plans to Initiative Leads and to use their promotional strategies on campus.  ICO will also share the marketing plans with all Initiative Leads at our semi-annual professional development meetings.  We are happy to say that we are already planning for another collaboration during the  Winter 2022 term. Many thanks to Dawn Robson, Jennifer Wade, and Brad McLoughin for facilitating this exciting collaboration.

Photo courtesy of: Kobian Matoto Bountouraby Sylla School Initiative


Photo courtesy of: Cambodia Snoul Agriculture Initiative


Photo courtesy of: San Antonio Education and Community


Daughters of Destiny – A Netflix Series

If you are looking for a series on Netflix about education in the developing world, consider watching Daughters of Destiny. This series follows young women who are of the Dalit (often called untouchables) caste who are chosen to attend a private school in India but must leave their homes and families to attend. 

The young women have to navigate dealing with a life of poverty and prejudice while at home during school breaks as well as the pressure to succeed at school.


Truth and Reconciliation – The Canadian Experience

ICO recognizes that many Canadians are living and working on the unceded territories of a number of First Nations Communities.  We respect and understand our opportunity to be here.

We are pleased to recognize and honor September 30, 2021 as the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.   The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.

Below are some links to learn more about the history and rationale behind this day.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its calls to action

There were 140 federally run Indian Residential Schools which operated in Canada between 1831 and 1998. The last school closed only 23 years ago. Survivors advocated for recognition and reparations and demanded accountability for the lasting legacy of harms caused. These efforts culminated in:

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission ran from 2008 to 2015 and provided those directly or indirectly affected by the legacy of the Indian Residential Schools policy with an opportunity to share their stories and experiences. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has become the permanent archive for the statements, documents and other materials the Commission gathered, and its library and collections are the foundation for ongoing learning and research.

The Commission released its final report detailing 94 calls to action. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a direct response to Call to Action 80, which called for a federal statutory day of commemoration.


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